(This is part of the stress reduction series co-authored by Launda Wheatley, Humanergy’s resident wellness expert and mind/body guru.)

If you find yourself feeling tense, there is something you can do that is quick, effective and requires no special equipment. If you are like most people, you regularly breathe in short bursts, from the chest up. To reduce stress, the first step is to change the way you’re breathing.

Follow these easy steps for almost-instant stress reduction:

1. Breathe naturally for one minute, focusing only on your breath. If thoughts encroach, note them and go back to focusing on your breathing.

2. Notice how you are sitting, and sit up taller. Let any stiffness or tightness in your body fade away with each exhale.

3. Exhale longer, counting slowly to 6 for each exhale. Breathe in this way for several minutes.

Want a 5-minute guided breathing exercise? Check out this video by the Mayo Clinic.

Breathing deeply pays dividends over time – reducing stress, alleviating pain and improving sleep. It sure beats the method I often use to combat stress – working faster and harder. As Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it.”


Need to create a happier work life? Contact Humanergy.

Photo from Raa_Szz on stock xchng